Video: Outrage After NYPD Hustles Protester Into Unmarked Van

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NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department’s use of plainclothes officers and an unmarked minivan to haul away a vandalism suspect during a protest Tuesday created confusion and drew online outrage from people who compared it to covert tactics used recently by federal agents in Portland, Oregon.

Bystander video of 18-year-old Nikki Stone’s arrest spread quickly on social media, along with comments such as “nypd is out here KIDNAPPING protesters off of the street.”

Another tweet compared the police to an African terrorist group, saying: “When Boko Haram does this there is international outrage. NYPD, it’s just business as usual.”


Acknowledging the video, the NYPD issued a statement Tuesday night explaining that Stone was picked up by a police warrant squad for allegedly damaging several surveillance cameras near City Hall, where activists camped out for a month before riot police forced them out last week.

The warrant squad typically “uses unmarked vehicles to effectively locate wanted suspects,” the statement said. Police also claimed the officers were peppered with rocks and bottles as they took Stone into custody, but witnesses said that wasn’t the case.


Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday he was concerned with the optics of police hustling a person into a minivan during the middle of a protest march, given the recent furor over federal agents using unmarked vehicles to scoop up protesters in Portland. He said he would discuss the matter with Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.

“That was not the time and place to effectuate that arrest,” de Blasio said.

Video of Tuesday’s arrest showed officers in T-shirts and shorts just after they put Stone into the minivan. Uniformed bike cops are seen forming a perimeter and standing guard as the plainclothes officers — their department-issued guns and stun guns visible on their holsters — work around the vehicle. The clip was shared thousands of times, including by politicians and cable news commentators.

Stone was released from a police precinct around 1 a.m. Wednesday and ordered to return to court at a later date to face charges of criminal mischief and making graffiti stemming from five alleged incidents over the last two months. The Associated Press wasn’t immediately able to locate a phone number where Stone could be reached.

Eleven other people at Tuesday’s protest in Manhattan were also arrested and given desk appearance tickets for charges including criminal mischief and obstructing governmental administration, police said.

The American Civil Liberties Union tweeted that it appeared Stone was “abducted” off the street. U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, a Democrat, said the episode was “terrifying and should be unacceptable to everyone who respects the constitutional rights this country was founded on.”

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat who made headlines last week for castigating a sexist colleague, tweeted: “This is not a drill. There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them into unmarked vans.”

In Portland, federal agents were accused of failing to properly identify themselves as they took people into custody, allegedly without probable cause. Those people were questioned and released.

“A lot of us have watched in pain what’s been going in in Portland, Oregon,” de Blasio said. “Anything that even slightly suggests that to me is troubling and it’s the kind of thing we don’t want to see in our city.”

The Police Benevolent Association, the union representing the city’s police officers, tweeted that “politicians hurling hate at cops for daring to arrest a wanted criminal … have surrendered our streets.” City Councilman Joe Borelli, a supporter of the police department, tweeted approval of the plainclothes tactics and derision for people upset by it.

“So excited to hear today’s hot takes on how someone shouldn’t be arrested despite having an arrest warrant, or should have been arrested in some other manner or by more fashion-conscious cops, or how police unmarked minivans are evil or something,” Borelli, a Republican, wrote.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. DeBlasio wants only death and destruction for this City. He wants to leave it in complete ruin when his term limited tax funded job runs out. It’s a shame his “Don the Con” slogan didn’t work out for him during his very successful Presidential run.
    If a Frum Yid did the exact same thing this little WHITE girl did, OMG, DeBlasio would of been praising the NYPD for such a superb well done job in getting the Jew. He would of been left in prison without bail, unlike this little Biden voter. He would be lecturing the “Jewish Community” that enough is enough. We can’t have Jews defacing and damaging police cameras. “If you do the crime you do the time”. Etc…

  2. There’s a reason they’re plainclothes and have unmarked vehicles: The atmosphere in NYC towards police is not very friendly to say the least. And de Blasio is not helping in the least.

  3. City going to the dogs. Our fault. We elected Nadler,Deblasio,cuomo and Schumer. If we would al half million religious Jews register to vote we could save nyc. But we won’t. And then when crime hits our areas will cry. Wake up

  4. Even the incompetent Mayor did not state that the arrest was illegal; in fact, it was a legal arrest, based upon an outstanding arrest warrant for vandalism. However, the dumb Mayor stated that “it was the wrong time to make that arrest, based on the optics”. Give me a break! The defendant was not beaten or manhandled. He or she resisted arrested, and had to be forced into the car. If someone insists upon vandalizing city property, they will be subject to arrest.

  5. That was not the time and place to effectuate that arrest,” de Blasio said.

    Bring in the national guards till De-Blassio stands behind the NYPD. Enough of this

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